The film wasn’t officially banned but it was pulled back from screening after it was cleared by the central and provincial censor boards. It was scheduled for another review on February 3. A special government committee meeting to examine the ban on Sarmad Khoosat’s film Zindagi Tamasha has been postponed according to the Punjab government’s spokesperson on Monday.
Censor boards in Sindh and Punjab claimed that they were told that if the film was released it would cause ‘unrest within some segments of society’. According to a censor board member, no decision could be taken till the film was reviewed by the Council of Islamic Ideology’s four-member committee. The government and censor boards referred Khoosat’s film to the CII for a review as well. The council is supposed to report back to the chairperson of the censor boards about the theme of the film and its impact on society.
Freedom of expression has historically faced challenges in Pakistan. This has manifested in a variety of ways. Forced censorship, written or verbal threats, killings, harassment and abductions are all commonplace among journalists and media groups alike. The most recent disregard of freedom of expression in the country has come in the form of the attempted banning of the film ‘Zindagi Tamasha’.